Akamai handles agencies' Web traffic

A new focus on the federal government market is paying off for Akamai Technologies Inc., a content-delivery service provider.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company said the Census Bureau and the Government Printing Office have joined the Voice of America in using Akamai's Web-infrastructure services to help them disseminate large amounts of information via the Internet.

Akamai offers Internet content- delivery services through its network of more than 9,700 servers in 56 countries, a strategy that limits Web congestion and bottlenecks, said Chris Carlston, Akamai's federal sales manager.

"The traditional model was to throw a lot of hardware and bandwidth at the problem," he said. "Very simply we're outsourcing content delivery in a very broad fashion."

Akamai formally launched its federal sales group, based in Fairfax, Va., in January. Its products include:

* EdgeSuite, for delivery of an entire Web site.

* FreeFlow, which the company says improves Web site reliability and speed by diminishing traffic to the original server.

* FreeFlow Streaming services, for live Webcasts, streaming media on demand and other streaming application services.

Voice of America is Akamai's longest-standing federal customer, having used a number of services, including FreeFlow Streaming, for the last 18 months. VOA delivers about 200 hours of content per day in live and on-demand audio and video broadcasts in 53 languages, said Tish King, VOA's chief of media relations.

"We also use the Internet to deliver broadcast quality programs to affiliates in other countries, which they download and rebroadcast," King said. "It's low-cost delivery for us," and Akamai's tools help make that happen.

The Census Bureau chose the EdgeSuite service to alleviate the burden on its internal systems. The tool reduced the direct hits on the Census server by 70 percent, said David Raszewski, the agency's senior Internet technology architect.

GPO develops and manages many of the Web sites for other agencies, including the Supreme Court. The agency began using FreeFlow in March to help the court deal with the demands of increased traffic, Carlston said.

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